Need Help with 32-20 S&W Revolver


May 5, 2014, 10:03 PM
I was at the local gun shop the other day and walked out with this. To the best of my knowledge it would be a 1905 hand ejector S&W chambered in 32 WCF. The gun had an ugly pair of Pachmayr grips on it which I promptly removed. The action is tight and smooth and the bore and cylinder chambers are excellent. It has lots of original finish on one side, but is missing some on the other where it looks to have sat on something in storage.

About the only thing I can find fault with is that the cylinder pin does not properly catch on the barrel lug. It looks like the spring loaded pin that would be in there is stuck, or perhaps broken, but I can't complain too much as I only have $200 in it. My question is what would be appropriate grips for this and any idea on the date of manufacture, serial number is 784XX.

Any help would be appreciated.

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May 11, 2014, 10:04 AM
.32-20 Hand Ejector Model of 1905 4th Change manufactured between 1915 & May 1919.
Predates heat treatment of cylinders, so don't hot rod it.
Lacks the positive hammer block safety introduced during WWII after a fatality with a dropped gun. I would consider it prudent to treat it as a 5 shooter, leaving the chamber under the hammer empty.
Check for a ring / bulge in the barrel, this is not uncommon from rifle only ammo being shot through them, it may explain the lack of lock up.
Original grips would be walnut, checkered, round top, diamond around the grip screws and a gold medallion at the top.

If the barrel isn't bulged, you can find correct grips and fix the lock up, then value is probably around $400-$450, if there is no rust/pitting. I can't really tell from your pics.

May 11, 2014, 11:26 AM
What radagast said. For your foreward pin problem, I'd try dripping a few drops of kroil on the barrel lug and gently working the pin. It could be just gunked up with many decades of crud.

Jim K
May 12, 2014, 12:20 AM
I am aware that the serial number indicates that gun was made before the heat treatment of cylinders, but the reddish color of the cylinder indicates to me that the cylinder on that gun was made of a different alloy and heat treated. Am I wrong, is the book, or could the cylinder have been replaced?


May 12, 2014, 01:09 AM
All of the guns with replaced cylinders that I am aware of were from the twenties or earlier, so that is possible.
Old Fuff likes to point out that frames were stockpiled and not necessarily shipped sequentially.
Heat treating began at serial number 81287, May 7th, 1919. I guess the serial numbers are close enough that final assembly on that gun could have occurred after heat treating began.
I'd still stick to cowboy level loads. It's almost a century old.

Jim K
May 12, 2014, 07:30 PM
I would never argue against caution when there is a question.


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